In Cairo, It’s a Busy Literary December

It’s been a busy literary season in Cairo, with the novel conference, the Naguib Mahfouz award, preparations for the Cairo International Book Fair, and the kerfuffle over the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) shortlist. Also, ’tis the season for book signings and launches, particularly those of Egyptian writers who teach abroad.

On Monday, December 20, author May Telmissany is scheduled to read from her new book The Gates of Paradise: A Memoir of Traveling and Immigration, at the Kotob Khan bookstore in New Ma’adi.

Telmissany, a literary and film theorist, is assistant professor at the University of Ottawa. She has written two novels (Heliopolis and Dunyazad) and two collections of short stories (Repetitive Sculptures and Mental Betrayals), as well as a number of scholarly works. Dunyazad has been translated into English by Roger Allen.

On December 24, the Korba Shorouk will host a storytelling event for the Etisalat-prize-winning النقطة السوداء. (Yes, this is a “children’s book,” although I believe it’s the sort that’s for all ages.) The store also promises a 20 percent discount on all of author/illustrator Walid Taher’s books, as well as other “holiday surprises.”

On December 26, book fans can either go to the Zamalek Diwan to see Sherif Abdel Sama sign copies of his new novel, Something of the Past, his first published work in Arabic.  Or they can go see Miral al-Tahawy—whose Brooklyn Heights has been shortlisted for the IPAF and has won this year’s Naguib Mahfouz prize—at Kotob Khan.

Both events are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, we just missed seeing Dr. Youssef Ziedan sign his latest book, Nabataean, at the Merghany Alef last week. Ziedan is most well-known internationally for his International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF)-winning Azazel, scheduled to appear in English next summer.

Moheet, which covered the reading and discussion, noted that—like any event with Dr. Ziedan—controversy attended.

Nabataean, Ziedan’s third novel, has been a hot commodity since it was released mid-November.

Kotob Khan, the only Cairo bookstore that puts out regular and reliable book-sales information, reports that Nabataean tops their mid-December best-seller list.  Moheet also notes that the novel is already on its fourth edition, and is slated to be translated into several languages, “including Turkish, Italian, and English.”

Join the discussion of Nabataean:

There’s are already dozens of passionate and conflicting reviews of Nabataean on GoodReads.

More about Youssef Ziedan:

Religion vs. Fiction in Egypt

Just who were the Nabataeans?

Wikipedia has an entry about them.